CD Projekt RED reportedly calls for mandatory crunch ahead of Cyberpunk 2077 launch, CD Projekt RED responds

Cyberpunk 2077 Arasaka Corp
Cyberpunk 2077 Arasaka Corp (Image credit: CD Projekt Red)

Update, September 30, 2020 (9 am CT): The Head of Studio at CD Projekt RED, Adam Badowski, responded to the report with a statement on Twitter.

What you need to know

  • Cyberpunk 2077 is the next game from CD Projekt RED, the developers of the acclaimed Witcher 3 game.
  • The game has been delayed multiple times, presumably to meet quality expectations and avoid extreme crunch time.
  • Crunching is very common in the gaming industry, with developers working dozens of extra hours to meet deadlines.
  • Despite earlier promises from higher-ups, CD Projekt RED is now calling for mandatory crunch on Cyberpunk 2077.

Cyberpunk 2077 is a game with incredibly high anticipation and expectations, and has already been delayed multiple times, with a new launch date of November 19, 2020. These delays were presumably to avoid extreme levels of crunch, or when developers work insane amounts of overtime and extra days in order to meet deadlines, and still meet a desired level of quality.

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However, a new report from Bloomberg reveals that CD Projekt RED has reportedly called for mandatory crunch and overtime ahead of the Cyberpunk 2077's launch. This move would make six-day work weeks mandatory for all developers, which is already upsetting enough when crunch time is considered to be an unfortunate standard in the gaming world. However, this also goes against the promises of CD Projekt RED's earlier promises in interviews, where they expressed a desire to avoid this kind of crunch on Cyberpunk 2077.

Despite multiple delays, and the fact that many team members working on Cyberpunk 2077 have already been working consistent overtime for weeks, months, and even years, CD Projekt RED is still implementing mandatory six-day work weeks, according to the report. While understandable that the game studio would wish to avoid the backlash from fans for any more delays for their most anticipated game since the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, these kind of practices are unhealthy, both physically and mentally, for all the developers involved.

How do you feel about the recent news coming out of CD Projekt RED? Would you rather another game delay if it meant less strenuous work conditions? Let us know in the comments below.

Update, September 30, 2020 (9 am CT)—Adam Badowski, Head of Studio at CD Projekt RED, issues a statement

In response to the report coming out of Bloomberg, Adam Badowski, the Head of Studio at CD Projekt RED, has issued a statement on the matter. According to the statement, the "majority of the team understands" the mandatory crunch, and that everyone is duly compensated for the extra time they put in. CD Projekt RED has also committed to evenly distributing 10% of the company's annual profits to employees. While it's great that employees will be compensated, as they should be, this move has still been a controversial one from CD Projekt RED.

Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer primarily focused on covering the latest news, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life, and have been with Windows Central and its sister sites since 2019. While originally brought on to write about all things Minecraft, Zachary has since expanded to write about practically everything that Windows Central covers. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.

35 Comments
  • I love videogames and been waiting for this game, for years. But if they have to delay it, then so be it. Not healthy to over work these people and cause any mental or physiological damage, to just hit a street date. I waited this long for the game, I can wait some more.
  • Overtime to meet deadlines is common in all software development industries. At some point, they need to ship the product and make money. As long as the company intends to make good on it either by paying them extra or by giving them comp pay, then I don't have a huge issue with it.
  • Exactly. I've had to do 12 hours a day 6 or 7 days a week in software jobs and working in factories. This isn't a video game development problem. This is the company needs to stay afloat and if you there to be a company in the future, please work more. And if not, we can find someone who will. Yes it sucks, but it's life.
  • The problem here is the philosophy of work. I understand that sometimes overtime is necessary but it should not be a norm. If overtime is consistent it is no longer overtime and just your normal work life.
    Consistent overtime is just poor management and or understanding of a project. There becomes a point where working extra hours is just not efficient.
    Overtime should not be considered "normal"
  • "Overtime should not be considered normal". Tell that to shift workers. I have a light amount this year and I am well over 600 hours. I usually do at least 800 to 1200 annually and I only have 8 hours every two weeks built into my schedule.
  • Well I feel sorry for you. A typical working year, well for my contract, is approximately 1900 hours (40 hour week).
    You are basically working an extra half year. If you are fairly compensated then I guess that is OK. But I prefer to work so I can live as opposed to live so I can work.
    Of course depending on which industry you work those hours differ but the expectation that overtime is normal and should be accepted, in my opinion, is not ok.
  • You are right on point with your compensation point. In my industry, at least hourly employees are well compensated for those hours. So it is a 'fair' trade offf. In the video game industry I have heard this is not the case. Salaried workers usually don't get extra for these hours. At least CDPR said this will NOT be the case and people will be getting paid. That is great.
  • @Copiondor just because you have had to work long hours, it doesn't mean everyone else to do so as well. "This is the company needs to stay afloat and if you there to be a company in the future, please work more. And if not, we can find someone who will. Yes it sucks, but it's life." Goes to show you don't actually understand productivty and economics do you? Effectively you have just advocated for modern slavery and people with similiar mindsets like yours is why it's still prevalent in 2020. A company can stay afloat by adjusting the wage brackets and by increasing the wage bracket so that the workers who work their asses off are paid more. The local economy benefits, the level of education increases and the number of small businesses increases as there is higher net disposable income thus less people are reliant on government assistance. Additionally, innovation increases as there is more competion from the increasing number of small businesses. Yes, at a certain point of services depending on sector will balance out and at that point it becomes unfeasible for additional competition (the race to the bottom). Furthermore with a balanced wage bracket and correctly structured working hours. You will find you're working less hours but productivity increases as a person's moral increases so does the quality of work (meaningful work). Additionally, in certain sectors with proper structured hours you can create more jobs. So If you actually study the wage bracket you will realise it's a pyramid scheme. Any capitalistic enterprise is a pyramid scheme with wealth concentrated at the top and the poor at the bottom struggling to make ends meet. Because it's simple, lower labour costs means lower wage expenses. Hence why any company goes for any "efficiency" measures to increase profit people get fired. It's come to a point where rent, bills, groceries, student loans etc have increased but the wages have not. Hence why many people are working multiple jobs just to make ends meet. Ultimately, I suggest you stop with the mindset "This is the company needs to stay afloat and if you there to be a company in the future, please work more. And if not, we can find someone who will. Yes it sucks, but it's life." As it's detrimental not just you but everyone else except those at the top.
  • Same, it's not like the gaming industry is alone in this anyway. The medical fields do this. A lot of IT staff have to do such things. Even food service employees experience staying late to clean up at closing. This might not be ideal, but the same dev team has been given multiple game delays to get it together and they've failed to make deadlines.
  • I do it all the time as a dev and hate it because whatever the delay is it's never my fault it's some mismanagement or at best ignoring advice. Feel like I get taken advantage of and have left jobs because of it. Not all companies and managers are bad though, every project can get delayed for whatever reasons but there are good company cultures and managers out there who deal with it well.
  • Must be true, bloomberg?
  • Seems like bad planning to me. I'm a software developer and would NEVER do overtime, except when working on the field of course.
    If my company would force me to work more, I'd just quit. They should have lower their expectations, or delay it further. I feel bad for these employees.
  • Why? The employees have already been given two delays on release to catch up where they have not produced on expected timelines. At what point do the employees have to be held accountable for their work...never?
  • Gonna use this with my kids. Doesn't matter you are working remotely or without normal workflow right?
  • Working remotely for dev is anything but an excuse ... Normal work flow should be back on track by now... It's not like we are In a nuclear apocalypse... Stop using the pandemic for an excuse for everything... It's nothing more than a higher killing rate bad flu.... So no it's not an excuse... Not almost a year after it's onset...
  • Hahaha. I have to respectively disagree. Covid is not a very bad flu. There are huge amounts of people having very different long term symptoms from signs of chronic fatigue syndrome, lung issues similar to asthma, lack of energy etc etc and of course death which is not very fun.
    I have been working from home since march as directed by my employee. It has been OK but still challenging. Certain tasks are just easier when everyone is in a room together. Problem solving functions 1000 times better in a interactive group instead of an online meeting.
    Delays are inevitable and justified.
  • @soletakenn "Covid is not a very bad flu" tell that to the people who have passed away from Covid-19.
  • quit and forgo the game profits cut you worked for?
  • Crunch is common for programmers/tech people in general in the IT industry. Normally it is caused by idiot non tech managers who have no idea despite being told 100 times that this or that thing will come back to bite them. I hate it but have got used to it being a dev - they just think you will do your magic and it'll all turn out ok and they are usually right but I hate being taken for granted like that. Have a lot of empathy for the 2077 team, hope you look after each other and at least get a feeling of achievement when you ship.
  • I thought the game was basically ready. What more needs to be done? They could easily release the game on time and patch it later, if they already had a build that they were able to give to reviewers.
  • IN the UK we have the Working Time Directive which would make this illegal
  • No, it wouldn't necessarily be illegal. There's no note about how many hours of overtime per day are being worked, and the 48 hour maximum can be opted out of.
  • I don't mind about a delay. I didn't take my vacation yet.
  • In all fairness, Covid-19 has likely been a roadblock in getting it done on a particular deadline. The other alternative would have been delaying the game a month or two, which would have been understandable as well. It's not like the Series X, PS5, or Next Gen GPUs are widely available at the moment anyways.
  • Right, but this is to get the launch in line for November 19th, when those consoles and GPUs WILL be out in large quantities. Also, the game has already been delayed multiple times to give the developers more breathing room.
  • We have to wait and see about large quantities. Seems some of the pre-ordered PS5s are getting pushed into 2021. Now this may just be for a few vendors that oversold their store allowance but seems the quantities MAY NOT BE LARGE.
  • six day work weeks.
    not ideal, but better than 24/7 work for 3 months.
    how long are the work days actually? do they get to go home at night? Probably due to covid they are already at home?
  • For 10% of the profits for the whole team I would also Crunch, this is the type of game that can make 1 billion, take that 1 billion devide it by 10 and you get 100 million, then devide by 1000 devs (don't know but it's probably this many) and each dev should get 100.000$!!!
  • CDPR has never even come close to making a billion dollars profit on a game. You're also confusing revenue with profit. Just because a game MAKES a certain amount of money doesn't mean it's considered profit.
  • Games as big as Cyberpunk 2077 do, you can expect at least 20 million units sold by the end of 2020, that's 800 million in revenue alone.
  • No company ever has given 10% split on profit to any worker. Managers and Executives maybe. However, I bet the CDPR devs are either salary, and get nothing, or work overtime at a lower hourly rate. Both of these are common in software development and software consulting. Also, others commenting need to have some empathy for the devs, this sentiment of blaming the devs for the delay is really ignorant.
  • Yes companies do... You are wrong... And no devs is probably one of the best paid job right now... If they don't like it they can quit and find a job before they are done walking out the door...
    Good devs get even paid to stay even when they wanna quit because there is a lack of manpower....
    I have zero empathy for devs... Anyone would love to have half the jobs opportunity we have... You don't like your job, quit there millions others out there that you can enjoy...
  • They were supposed to be the good guys in the industry. This disapoints me.
  • It's not like devs don't have the luxury to choose where they work (at least good ones).... You wanna be in the game industry, that's the name of the game. Everybody knows it... 1nd 8t's not like you don't make tons of extra cash out of that crunch... That's a total non issue... You have something against it go work for a non gaming software company or make a start up... Simple as that....
  • Personally, I'd prefer if the game is delayed so devs don't burn out and the game is fully polished. On the other hand I get why this is being imposed as the launch has been delayed and hyped up over a long time. If it is imposed, then the all the devs better be compensated for over time as well as any over time they have done regardless of project.